Introducción al Metro de Madrid

When traveling throughout the city of Madrid, there are a few different options.

Lots of people drive in the city.  That requires, for a foreigner, having an international driver’s license, actually having a car, paying for gas and finding a parking space.  Good luck with that.

There’s a taxi, which, of course, is not a terrible option.  It can get seriously expensive though if you take a taxi EVERYWHERE.  For me to go from the airport to my apartment was about 25 Euros, which was about what I was expecting.  And the taxis here are all clean and nice.  Someone mentioned something about everyone having to get a new car.

You could walk everywhere…this city is huge. Have fun with that.

There is a bus system that is so complicated that I’m not even sure I could explain it right now.

And then, we have the Metro!  I love the metro!

Metro Map

Schematic layout of the metro system

As you can see, its freakin huge!  It’s actually one of the longest systems in the world.  It’s rivaled by Seoul and Beijing.  Officially, there are 231 stations and over 282 km of track.  That’s just over 175 miles.  It’s big.  I’ve only been on a very, very, very small portion of it.

I already love it.  It’s fast.  Believe it or not, it’s simple.  It’s clean.  And it’s fairly cheap.  Getting up to the street can be a little confusing, especially ath the stations where multiple lines cross.  Sol, Cuatro Caminos, Nuevos Ministerios and Avenida de America are some of the busiest stations because not only do they have three or more lines crossing, but there are the bus stations and the RENFE intersecting here as well.

RENFE is the train system.  Simple version of RENFE:  There is local RENFE that also goes throughout the city and a little further out than the Metro.  And there’s also RENFE that goes between the cities.  It takes about 3 hours to get from Sevilla to Madrid by train.

Back to metro.  When I went down to Puerta del Sol yesterday, there was a guy singing and playing guitar on the train.  At every station, her would get off and get into a different car and keep going.  One weird thing is that the trains run backwards.  And I don’t literally mean backwards.  Although the trains go both ways, so maybe at one point they are running backwards.  When you are standing on the platform, the train always comes from the right and goes left.  I cannot figure out why and it is the one thing that confuses the crap out of me!  Anything that talks about it says that its like that for historical reasons.  If the London Tube runs the same way, maybe its something to do with the Brits.

Who the heck knows anymore?!?

More to be posted as I learn more!  Ciao all.